Superjet to miss air show
MOSCOW, 9 July 2012: Russian airline Aeroflot revealed on Friday that it was having problems with the Superjet 100 liner the state hopes to show off at the Farnborough Air Show in Britain next week.
The RBK Daily business newspaper said that the state airline was on average using only four of the eight medium haul carriers — the first built by Russia since the Soviet era — which it has put in operation since last year.
Aeroflot then said in a statement that most of the problems concerned air conditioning alarm system malfunctions, but refused to say how much time the planes actually spent on the ground.
But its promotion of the commercial jet has faced unexpected challenges and a deadly crash during exhibition exercises in Indonesia that is almost certain to impact its immediate Asia sales.
The plane was due to be shown off at the world’s largest air show on Monday in direct competition with Bombardier of Canada and Brazil’s Embraer.
The huge Russian aviation contingent however has reported problems getting visas from the British authorities in what threatens to develop into a new diplomatic incident between two countries with already-strained ties.
The visa dispute prompted an ominous Russian foreign ministry statement on Thursday and was discussed by President Vladimir Putin on Friday during his weekly meeting with top ministers on the domestic Security Council.
The RBK Daily report said Aeroflot was using its Superjet fleet to just 60% capacity — a low figure for any model and one that could give future clients pause.
Aeroflot’s statement said most the faults involved false alarms going off that told the crew of dangerous leaks in the air conditioning system.
It said the problem was linked to the complicated electrical wiring that that resulted in small breaks in connection and the malfunction of sensitive alarms.
Aeroflot added that the manufacturer Sukhoi maker was currently checking the purchased planes’ assembly and making the required fixes.
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